Vikings Predicted to Sign Kirk Cousins to Another Huge ‘Fully Guaranteed’ Contract

Kirk Cousins

Getty Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have had zero consistent options at quarterback since losing Kirk Cousins in Week 8, which has likely cost the team its playoff spot this January.

Those are the circumstances that, if repeated after an offseason to address them, could land head coach Kevin O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on the hot seat. Both men have been hesitant to commit to Cousins long-term since arriving on the scene two years ago, presumably due to his age.

Winning the NFC North and hosting a playoff game in 2022 bought the young duo some goodwill, but the decision to pursue Josh Dobbs via trade — rather than sign a free agent like Joe Flacco after Cousins’ Achilles injury — is a blow to the reputation of the Vikings’ leadership team as analytics-based wunderkinds operating ahead of the NFL curve.

Minnesota would pick No. 12 in the first round if the 2024 draft order was finalized today, which isn’t high enough to guarantee the Vikings even the fourth prospect off the board in one of the more stacked QB classes in recent memory. The franchise can’t afford to go all-in on a rookie and miss, and the free-agent market won’t be replete with top-end talent this offseason.

As such, Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac predicted on December 27 that the Vikings will make the safe move and lock up Cousins on a massive two-year extension.

“Cousins limps into free agency as the most experienced, productive QB set to become available. The 35-year-old carries a $40M valuation into the offseason, likely seeking his [fourth] consecutive fully-guaranteed contract,” Ginnitti wrote.

“Minnesota never lets Cousins hit the open market, agreeing to a two-year, $80 million, fully-guaranteed contract extension with their QB1, and under-contract Nick Mullens remains as the QB2.”

Vikings’ Elite Pass-Catching Group Loses Heat Absent Kirk Cousins

Justin Jefferson, Kirk Cousins

GettyMinnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (left) and quarterback Kirk Cousins (right).

Eighty million guaranteed is a massive number for a soon-to-be 36-year-old coming off of an Achilles tear, but contract negotiations are about leverage and Cousins currently holds most of the cards.

The four-time Pro Bowler has earned three of those honors during his six years in Minnesota, including each of the past two seasons. He was playing the best football of his career during his second year under O’Connell in the first half of the 2023 campaign, leading the NFL with 18 touchdown passes through eight weeks before sustaining his injury.

The Vikings just invested heavily in tight end TJ Hockenson, signing him to the richest contract at the position in NFL history with a guaranteed $66 million over four years.

All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson has spoken up for bringing Cousins back in 2024 and is also due his first big NFL contract soon, which is expected to break positional records as Hockenson’s did before it.

O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah drafted standout rookie wideout Jordan Addison in the first round last year, and he will need consistent quarterback play to develop into the Jefferson-type threat for which Minnesota’s front office and coaching staff are hoping.

Vikings Will Fall Behind NFC North Rivals if They Don’t Extend Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

GettyMinnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Minnesota is 3-5 without Cousins and losers of five of the last six with Mullens, Dobbs and rookie Jaren Hall each garnering two starts over that span.

The defense has been the team’s saving grace, though Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers hung 33 points on the Vikings in Week 17 and defensive coordinator Brian Flores is a prime candidate to leave for a head coaching job after just one season in Minnesota.

The Packers, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears all look to be ascending in the NFC North while the Vikings appear more like they are treading water. The clearest advantage Minnesota has over its rivals is a high-powered passing attack with the best complement of pass-catchers in the division.

Minnesota needs a precise quarterback with an arm big enough to make every throw to maximize that advantage, and Cousins looks right now to be far and away the best option that the Vikings can expect to lock down in the short term.

The franchise had its chance to ink Cousins to a multiyear extension at a “discount” during the offseason but chose not to do so. Cousins has made clear his desire to remain in Minnesota, which may impact his leverage to a degree.

He also wants to win and has made $185 million since joining the Vikings six years ago, which could incline the QB toward taking a discount out of the goodness of his heart.

All that said, however, Cousins has been the man in Minnesota for more than a half decade. Circumstances have played out to allow him to maintain that status for years to come, with a raise no less, despite coming off of a serious injury as he enters his late 30s.

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